Invest in self-care: 10 things to stop doing this year

Jan Milo Severo – Philstar.com

January 13, 2023 | 4:56pm

MANILA, Philippines — Yoga expert and book author Clara Day Herrera encourages Filipinos to invest in self-care this new year. 

“Take care of your well-being so when the people you love struggle, you’re fully ready and healthy to help them,” she said. 

Herrera said consistency is the key to properly give yourself self-care as she suggested 10 things to stop doing this year. 

1. Setting unreasonable goals 

When you decide to embrace a weight management journey with clear intentions, ask yourself: What sustainable steps can I take in terms of diet and exercise? Will you commit to the gym four hours, six days a week or will you allocate just four days of an hour of workout time? Will you vow to skip dessert indefinitely or treat yourself to a slice or small serving from time to time? Keep in mind that sustainability is the key to consistency and the latter leads to success in any endeavor in life, especially in weight management.

2. Thinking that diet and workout are your only options

Your overall lifestyle is a significant contributing factor to a successful health journey, as much as your nutrition and exercise. Getting enough quality sleep, managing your stressors, and monitoring your food consumption are crucial in keeping the excess weight off. In case you missed it, sleep deprivation affects two important appetite hormones in our body – leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is a hormone that suppresses appetite while ghrelin or “hunger hormone” stimulates it. If you will notice, getting less than 5 hours of sleep makes you eat and crave for food more.

3. Under consumption of food

In our attempt to lose weight, many of us fall into the trap of excessively cutting down our food intake. When calorie consumption significantly drops, the metabolic rate also slows down. Our basal metabolism determines the amount of calories our bodies burn at rest. Our bodies conserve energy when food consumption is too low as a means of survival. Our bodily functions cannot determine the difference between low calorie intake for fat loss or because of starvation, so dropping your calories too low may cause metabolic rate to slow. This will disrupt your fat loss efforts.

4. Having a nutritional plan that is hard to follow 

Keep in mind that you will have to follow 80% of a nutrition plan to manage weight and sustain the progress over a period of time. It is necessary that this translates into a lifestyle for you. So choose a method that you can see yourself doing 80% of for a long time. If the method is too restrictive, you may see results initially but may backfire when you decide not to continue it.

5. Skipping strength training

If you could prioritize one thing in terms of fitness, go for strength training. Strength training involves using muscle groups to execute a certain task, like lifting weights or squatting in which you use your body weight or equipment like barbells and resistance band to improve strength, endurance and muscle mass. You will appear leaner and “toned” as you build more muscles and shed fats.

Sometimes, you may lose inches off your body even if you don’t see a change in scale. It is still a good indication that you are losing fat and building more muscle mass. So go ahead, consult a doctor if you have a medical condition, get a professional strength training coach and invest on your self by starting your strength training program. 

6. Not managing your stress

You workout and you are mindful of what you eat but you are still unable to shed inches or weight. How stressed are you at work or at home? Most of us turn to food for comfort when we’re feeling a lot of pressure. This happens because of our survival mode wherein once your body reaches a certain stress level, it does what it feels it should. Usually the tendency to overeat becomes the body’s response. 

This is because your body thinks you’ve consumed calories to deal with your stress. Therefore, it will condition you to replenish those calories, even if you do not need to.

7. Not paying attention to the timings you consume your food 

Do you believe that the time you consume your meals affect your overall health and that our digestive system is the cornerstone of our health? 
According to Ayurveda, a 5000-year-old time-honored system and science from India which aims to bring balance to our lives through prevention of diseases, we should eat light breakfast at 9 to 10 a.m. since our digestive system is still weak when we wake up. The best time to consume our heavy meal is at 12 to 2 p.m. since our digestive fire is strongest at these hours. A light meal for dinner is recommended at 6 to 7 p.m. 

It is essential that we rest our digestive system and refrain from eating 3 to 4 hours before bedtime. 

8. Not being mindful of your body’s reaction to certain food items

Our bodies are intelligent. The body knows what food makes you feel good and what makes you bloat or feel sluggish. Listen to it. Consume more of what your body accepts well and lessen or avoid what your body rejects.

Food is meant to energize us and make us feel alive. Observe how your stomach reacts when you consume highly processed food or types of food that are low in fiber. Do you feel bloated? Do you become constipated? Do you feel lethargic? This means that the food you consumed becomes an impediment to your digestive system.

9. Not considering nutrient content of food and focusing only on calories

If you are on a fat loss journey, know that creating a deficit on your total calorie intake is essential to lose fat. However, most people focus only on counting their calories. Keep in mind that choosing a healthy diet solely based on the caloric value of foods negates the overall goal of your health journey because calories are not equal; they differ in nutritional quality based to their source.

10. Not focusing on progress and focusing on external validation instead 

Your friend’s weight loss results may not be the same as yours and that is okay. Be patient with yourself. Embrace and enjoy the healthy lifestyle instead of focusing on the timeline that you have set for yourself. 

Every inch loss, every pound that you were able to shed, every additional kilogram on your dumbbells that you were able to lift, every quality rep that you are able to do, every piece of clothing that fits you better than before are all indications of progress. So celebrate and thank yourself for doing a great job. 

Never allow people’s opinions on your body, the number of likes or views on your health jouney posts determine how strong you are for having the courage and deciding to improve your life through your health while most people neglect this very crucial aspect.

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